How To Take Those First Steps Towards Slow and Mindful Living

How To Take The First Steps Towards Slow Living - The Calm Collective

Hi friends! Long time no chat.  I in no way intended on taking a break for almost 3 weeks during the holidays, but I have to say — it was pretty magical.  Once I was able to rid myself of the guilt and instead channel that energy into brainstorming ideas for 2018, my little “sabbatical” we’ll call it – was completely worth it.  I spent Christmas up in Traverse City with my mom and Chris which consisted of us cutting down a tree (the smell of fresh pine in the home is unreal — stay tuned for a little video that I’m putting together of the experience!), and baking up Swedish traditions including my family’s Swedish pancake recipe.  The fire never stopped going, the lights stayed up well after the new year, and life was just really calm and quiet.  I think we all needed it.

For New Years, we headed down to Grand Rapids to visit two of our good friends who were keen on just staying in, cooking up a delicious dinner, going in the hot tub and playing some games.  By 1:30, we were all in bed and woke up for brunch the next day.   The next week was spent working on the #TCCchalet (the A-frame house that Chris bought  that we’re renovating and living in up north in Traverse City) and picking out final touches for the kitchen and upstairs bathroom. We also went snowmobiling (58 miles!), which was incredible. I had never been before, and doing it in a place like Traverse City completely took my breath away. The views here are just out of this world, and though it was -0 outside during our ride, I couldn’t have cared less.

And now, here we are. Back in the swing of things. Waking up early and flowing back into my regular routine (which I love). Coffee in bed alongside my laptop, writing these posts for all of you (and for me, lets be real) as a means to be inspired to live our best lives centered around slow and mindful living. Sure, it’s trendy right now; everyone’s talking about it. But there’s a reason — it’s because it’s necessary. No matter who you are or what your story may be, slowing down will not hurt you. It will only help you.

As I’ve honored and acknowledged here on the blog time and time again, the hardest part is just beginning. Not really knowing where to start or what changes to make first.  I know first hand — I’ve been there.  It’s like you’re standing at a fork in the road and you have two choices. You can tackle the beast that is getting real with what needs fixing, or you can drag your feet towards living a life that wears you down far more than it lifts you up.  If I could only say one thing to those of you who are on the fence or are feeling overwhelmed, it would be this: Start slow. 

Learn how to balance what you’re currently living, and the life that you want to live. Remember that you are not in any way, shape or form required to transform your life within 24 hours — quite honestly, l I feel like that’s the surefire way to temporary success, rather than a long-term positive life change. When we give ourselves unnecessary pressure to change, or we make it seem like it’s all or nothing, often times we end up frazzled and overwhelmed, throwing our hands up and just saying “F-it”. We forget why we needed this change in the first place.  I consider slow and mindful living a work in progress — something that I’ll be practicing for the rest of my life. That acknowledgement right there gives me so much peace and space to try on new things — new practices, new techniques, new habits – without striving for perfection.

How To Take The First Steps Towards Slow Living - The Calm Collective

How To Take Those First Steps Towards Slow and Mindful Living  

Know what you want

Write down your top 3 lifestyle changes you’d like to make (say no more, be less impulsive, own less stuff) — and then write down why you want to make these changes.  Visit these 3 lifestyle changes each morning while you drink your coffee. Maybe type them in the notes section of your phone and read them during your lunch break. Sit with them for a while to ensure they feel entirely true and good to you, and make any changes if needed.  If after a week these 3 things still feel motivating and genuine, start doing the work.

Take it one step at a time

Instead of trying to tackle all 3 of your lifestyle changes at once, pick one and start there. For me, I knew my impulsive behavior was the leading cause of a) stress and b) too much stuff — so I knew that’s where I wanted to begin.  I also knew that it was stemming from an emotional place. I was trying to fill a void after losing my dad, and using my depression and anxiety as a means to fill my home with things I didn’t really need.  Once I started doing the work to better channel said emotions, the impulsive behavior started to fizzle out.  It was then I realized I was ready to tackle the second part: letting go of “stuff”.

Keep it to yourself, or not

Everyone is different when it comes to sharing their journey. Some worry that if they tell others what they’re doing — they’ll be judged. Others find that sharing holds them accountable, which acts as an extra motivator (that’s where I live)  Whatever feels good to you, do that.  But also remember this: if you aren’t being supported for trying to better yourself, take a good look at that relationship. Is it really one that you want to hold on to? Or can you let that one go?

Keep track

Make sure you’re keeping track of your progress and struggles. Nothing is more gratifying than to be able to see how far we’ve come. I have the blog here which holds a lot of my practice, success and struggles — but I also free journal just about every day; unloading my frustrations, brainstorming new ideas and challenging myself towards improvement. Give yourself a space where you can reflect back and be proud of the work that you’ve done.

Honor the process

Don’t be too hard on yourself. The main thing to remember is that you’re here. You’ve already acknowledged that you want to improve your life for whatever reason. That’s huge. It takes a lot to admit to our imperfections as human beings. It takes even more to move towards a first step. Honor the process that you’re in, no matter how long it’s taking. You’re showing up — that’s enough.

How To Take The First Steps Towards Slow Living - The Calm Collective

I hope this resonates with any of you who feel stuck. Or feel like you just don’t even know where to start. Consider this permission to start wherever the heck you want — to take your time, to feel it out, to understand that you don’t have to have it all figured out right now.  The magic is in the process. Here if you need me – x

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